Scopa chairman Themba Godi condemns threats against Sassa’s Thokozani Magwaza
The chairman of Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa), Themba Godi, has condemned the death threats made against South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) CEO Thokozani Magwaza‚ saying there is an "orchestrated campaign" to remove him from his position.
Magwaza has clashed very publicly with Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini over the handling of the payment of social grants as the contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) was nearing its end earlier this year.
He is likely to testify against her in a public hearing set up to probe the crisis‚ which saw the Constitutional Court having to step in to renew the CPS contract for a further year as no new service provider had been put in place.
Magwaza also cancelled "work streams" set up by the minister to find the best solution for the payment of grants after Treasury indicated that the R47m spent on them was irregular.
Godi said in a statement released on Monday that "we are shocked and angry at what is evidently brazen lawlessness by a criminal gang of rent seekers who want to intimidate Mr Magwaza out of his job".
Godi said he believed this was happening so that they could "frustrate" the contract for the payment of social grants between Sassa and the South African Post Office and "instead open the door for the looting of public funds".
"As Scopa we fully support Mr Magwaza and he must stay put and be steadfast in his post to serve the national interest. It is shocking that the Minister of Social Development‚ Ms Bathabile Dlamini‚ has not said a word or stood in solidarity with Mr Magwaza‚ thus making him feel he is on his own‚" Godi said.
He said Magwaza had been right in terminating the work streams.
"The appointment of these work streams was declared irregular by the National Treasury and there was therefore no other way than to immediately terminate them‚ as required by the Public Finance Management Act.
"There is an orchestrated campaign to remove Magwaza just as we have seen the suspension of two directors-general, in the Departments of Water Affairs and Sanitation (Dan Mashitisho), and Agriculture‚ Forestry and Fisheries (Mike Mlengana), all in circumstances that point to conflicts of interest with their political principals‚" Godi said.